WESTPORT, Conn. – Fairfield County lawmakers discussed Sunday the topic that they said puts all eyes on them during a gun control panel in Westport.
Most who attended the panel generally agreed that legislation has to be stricter on the state level.
“We talk about it all wrong. And I think each of us are at times, guilty of contributing to a less constructive, less respectful discussion on guns that we need to have if we’re going to reduce the amount of fear and emotion,” Democratic Rep. Jim Himes said.
The gun control issues is not about pro- or anti- gun, Himes said, it’s about safety and finding where to draw the line for the Second Amendment.
“All of our fundamental rights are modified and regulated for safety and decency,” Himes said. He spoke strongly about universal registration. He compared gun ownership to car ownership, in that people must be registered and licensed to drive. He questioned why gun ownership is so different, when it could be as deadly.
Several lawmakers commented that “All eyes are on Connecticut” and that the nation is waiting to see how the state responds to gun control after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The amount of bipartisan work being done by the Connecticut legislature on the gun control topic is unprecedented, said Mike Lawlor, Connecticut Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning.
“It’s time to put hard positions to the side, it’s time to put partisanship to the side,” said State Sen. John McKinney (R-Fairfield), Republican co-chair to the gun control task force. He said he was proud of the Connecticut legislature’s bipartisanship on the issue, adding that “we are not Washington.”
Being able to have level headed discussions about gun control and accept that people have different opinions is something State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton) said allows for better sharing of knowledge and understanding. “This has really brought something out, I think, on the level of our communities that’s very positive,” she said.
The bipartisan efforts of both the State Senate and House are enabling the lawmakers to make positive steps to work on better legislation for the state, State. Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) said.
“If we don’t precisely right the first time, we can make it better over time,” he said of the legislature. But he added that they have done in recent years what was needed to reduce gun violence.